Thursday 31 May 2012

Spider-Man vs Sandman by Dan McDaid

A few weeks ago I bought this lovely piece of artwork from the extremely talented Dan McDaid. You'll probably know him from his sterling work on the comic strip in Doctor Who Magazine - in fact there's a brand new issue just out ( no. 448 ) featuring the first part of a new story by Dan and Scott Gray - check it out! ( It features a space monkey on a flying surfboard: what more could you want? )

Anyway, when this beauty popped up on eBay I knew I had to have it. My all-time favourite hero, Spider-Man, versus the thuggish Sandman in his iconic, Ditko-designed prison duds? Oh yeah! It's such a fantastic composition - the strong ink lines accentuating Sandy's bulk, Spidey's coiled-spring pose, the play of light against dark - I love it!

It's been many, many years since I last bought any comics artwork ( some Doctor Who pages by Martin Geraghty... I'll have to post them some time soon ) so I was thrilled to see this arrive at my front door. And even more thrilled to see that Dan had added the personal touch of the above Sandman sketch on the envelope itself! Talk about going above and beyond the call of duty!

I'll leave you with a few close-ups of Dan's beautiful work. I always love to see original comics artwork... to see the process the artist undergoes, laying down inks over the ( blue ) pencil work... and it's good to share it with others, too...

Please have a look at Dan's blog if you get the chance. There's some stunning work there, featuring some very familiar characters. Tell him cerebus660 sent ya!

Listen to Darth...

"I find your lack of comments disturbing..."

Wednesday 30 May 2012

Smarter than the average bear?

ereader test
Source: Staples eReader Department

Just had a go on this little device which measures the speed at which you read. And then sneakily asks you 3 questions about the text to make sure you've actually read it...

Apparently I read the test at the rate of 530 words per minute, which is ( they say ) 112% faster than the national average. Not sure if that's necessarily good but it was a fun little exercise.

Why not give it a try?

( Thanks to Joanne at I Have Seen The Whole Of The Internet )

Tuesday 29 May 2012


Last Thursday I saw Headhunters, the blackly comic Norwegian thriller, at Gloucester's Guildhall.

It's a quirky and unusual tale of a businessman-turned-art-thief who bites off far more than he can chew when he crosses an ex-Special Forces mercenary. It has a similar tone to Scorsese's After Hours, in the way that an ever-escalating series of almost surreal catastrophes is heaped on the protagonist's head.

You can read my review at the Guildhall's website here. Thanks to the Film Club's Chloe for posting my inconsequential scribblings.

Saturday 26 May 2012

Some things actually going down in Groove Town this week

My home town of Gloucester can seem a pretty dull place at times ( especially after visits to more happenin' locations like London ) but occasionally things can hot up around these 'ere parts. This week, of course, saw the Olympic Torch reaching the shores of Old Blighty and going for a whistle-stop tour of the country ahead of the actual London Olympics.

After a triumphant-looking appearance in Cheltenham the night before ( featuring the strange combo of Zara Phillips and Labrinth... ) the Torch arrived in Gloucester Docks early on Friday morning. Being currently unemployed ( a scrounger, a waster, dole-scum ) I managed to get down to Glos Cathedral for about 7:30 ( in the AM! ) to see the Torch arrive in the city centre.

Even though it was quite a chilly, misty morning ( after a week of solid sunshine ) loads of people had turned out to see the relay runners appear. I'm not too sold on all the flag-waving, faux-patriotism of such events, but there was definitely a very positive, friendly atmosphere and a sense of being a small part of an historic event. I'm sure I'll never see another Olympic Games in this country in my lifetime, so I'm glad I went along. ( I tried to persuade James to come too, as he had a half day from school, but he couldn't drag himself out of his flea-pit at that time of morning... )

As my camera decided to malfunction at the very second the Torch passed by me ( shit! ), I only managed to get this long shot of the very cute athlete who ran up to the Cathedral. After a few photos the relay runners changed over and they ran back out again. Phew! No time for any sight-seeing :-)

Hordes of people, me included, then headed down to Kingsholm Rugby ground to see the next leg of the journey.

The police escort above gave the local cops the opportunity to be waved at and cheered on for a change... as opposed to being shouted at and having bricks thrown at them. I remarked to my friend Eric who was standing next to me that the last time I saw so many cops in Glos they were all sitting in riot vans...

More athletes and assorted Olympic organisers...

And then the Torch put in another appearance... and I managed to get a couple of photos :-)

On a less historic but more musical, er, note... Sarah and I saw a couple of bands play at Gloucester's Cafe Rene today at the Rene:gade Festival, in aid of the mental health charity Mind.

Opening the festival were The Fixed, a scarily young band I first saw at Bristol's Fleece last year supporting the mighty Chinese Burn.

I don't think The Fixed will be relegated to opening festivals much longer! They're a highly professional and talented band for ones so young ( I know how to patronise, don't I? ) who have a sunny, Vampire Weekend / early Talking Heads sound, often very funky and with an ability to properly rock out when needed. They're definitely going to go far...

The next band on were the unfortunately-named Nudybronque, a quirky, energetic indie band with some great tunes and some spot-on vocal harmonies. Somewhat in the vein of bands like The Automatic or Lo-Fi Allstars ( or even The long-lost Zutons ) they're another band to watch out for...

And, just around the corner from all this rock 'n' roll, we find a certain cat...

The latest additions to the graffiti surrounding the former Gloucester Art College, these pictures of Felix, the cat who walks by himself, are cheeky and funny and strangely appropriate.

And then there are a couple of random works of art which are too good to be painted over by the city council... which is no doubt their eventual fate.

Soundtrack: assorted songs from The Fixed and Nudybronque

Tuesday 22 May 2012

UK Subs / Demob

Last Saturday I went down to Bristol to see the seemingly-immortal UK Subs and local legends Demob tear the roof off the Fleece, and to celebrate/commiserate my impending redundancy. I went with two of those Chinese Burn boys, Ben and Glenn ( not Ben and Jerry... ) and Glenn's lovely girlfriend, Sam... and we were all ready for a bit of Punk Rock action.

A good time was had by all ( even though my ears have only just recovered, 3 days later ) and an appropriate amount of alcohol ( hic! ) was consumed. You can read a full review here in my first piece for Jon ( Goldblade ) Robb's wonderful website, Louder Than War. I'm over the moon ( as they say) to be contributing to such a cool site and hope to write some more reviews in the very near future. A big shout out to Guy Manchester for getting me on board the good ship LTW.
Cheers, mate!

And here are a few photos from the gig, starting with Charlie, Alvin, Jet and Jamie - the UK Subs...

And Gloucester Street Punk heroes Demob in full effect...

Great gig, great company, good times...

Update ( 23/05 ) Since this review was posted on LTW it's been re-posted and spread all over t'internet like some kind of Punk rash :-)
Especially pleased to see it crop up on the F/Book pages of the Subs, Demob and the mighty John Robb himself, who said "Thanks for writing it and please send more stuff!"
Just try and stop me ;-)

Friday 18 May 2012

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?


Last day at work today. I've got to go back in on Monday to fill out various forms and then I will officially be unemployed. It's quite an ominous but also liberating feeling. I've wanted to get out for so long ( and actually applied for redundancy a year ago but was turned down ) and now it's finally happened.

It's been 20 years almost to the month since I was last made redundant. Last time around was a lot worse: I was at home sick with a bad back when I was laid off, so I didn't have a job and was unable to get a job. ( Nowadays you'd probably sue for something like that... ) And I was only 3 months away from my wedding - not good. This time hopefully won't be so disastrous but it's still a strange feeling, knowing I don't have a job to go to next week. I've got an interview on Monday, so... fingers crossed :-)

Thursday 17 May 2012

Donna Summer

It seems lately that this blog does little more than report on the sad passing of musical legends but, unfortunately, another shining star has left us, in the shape of Donna Summer, Queen Of Disco.

Best known for her ground-breaking Hi-NRG collaborations with Giorgio Moroder, such as On The Radio and Love To Love You Baby, Ms. Summer was the original Funky Diva, one of the most influential artists of the '70s and '80s, and one hell of a singer. Below are two of my favourites from her career, the Quincy Jones-produced cover of Jon And Vangelis' State Of Independence ( the superior version, IMO ) and the all-conquering Disco classic, I Feel Love...

RIP Donna Summer 31st December 1948 - 17th May 2012

Saturday 12 May 2012

What's been going down in Groove Town this week?

For starters I've finally finished watching Season One of Battlestar Galactica. The two-part season finale, Kobol's Last Gleaming Parts 1 & 2, is a thrilling, budget-busting adventure, deftly gathering up various plot-lines and delivering a gob-smacking cliffhanger. Special mention has to be made of the extraordinary performance of Katee Sackhoff as the tough/vulnerable/cocky/sexy Kara "Starbuck" Thrace - she's a knock-out! I'll have to search out Season Two pretty frakkin' quick...

Back on planet Earth ( specifically Gloucestershire ) we've been enjoying some sunny weather for a change, so Sarah and I have been getting out in the countryside whenever we get the chance.

Here are some dazzlingly yellow fields of oilseed rape in my old home village of Moreton Valence. My family used to own land a stone's-throw away from this crop and we also have a family plot in the churchyard which overlooks these fields. But I don't plan to move in just yet...

And when we're back safely indoors, we've got a whole new DVD library to work through. My brother-in-law is currently helping to clear out the house of a former compulsive hoarder who has left behind mountains of computer games and consoles, DVDs, books, CDs and other assorted junk. Below are just a few of the films we've bought for a quid each - all proceeds going to the deceased's mother. There is a surprisingly high proportion of Keanu Reeves movies here for some reason...

Following the sad loss of both Levon Helm and Maurice Sendak recently, I was upset to hear of another couple of deaths. Firstly Beastie Boy and all-round cool dude Adam ( "MCA" ) Yauch who lost his battle with cancer at the ridiculously young age of 47, and then legendary Filipino comics artist Tony DeZuniga who has left behind a legacy of outstanding artwork, such as the Conan piece below. Joe Bloke has posted loads more fantastic DeZuniga work over at his ever-wonderful Grantbridge Street blog.

Update 18/05/12
Another classic Filipino artist, Ernie ( "Chua" ) Chan has also sadly passed away. Yet another blow for the comics community. My condolences to the families of both of those very talented artists.

Finally, I've found out this week that the company I work for, Q Park Medical, has gone into administration and will very likely close next Friday. I've been with the company for the last 14 years and have been trying to get out for quite some time as things have been getting worse and worse there, with staff cuts and a terminally clueless "management" team making every working day a pain in the arse. Hopefully I'll get a redundancy payout soon and be able to move on. I applied for a similar position at another local firm this week, so fingers crossed...

I don't think I'll find myself working for whoever created the advert above but, as the Beach Boys might say, wouldn't it be nice...?

Soundtrack: One Drop ( new single ) and assorted old tracks by Public Image Ltd.


Related Posts with Thumbnails